Shemone Esrei

134: The Triad of Man, Earth & Rain

Discover the deeper drive motivating construction of the Tower of Babel, where the invention of fired bricks seems to be "a technology in search of a solution” (as they say in the venture capital biz).

What is more pleasing? Things in their natural state, or things that have been worked on by Man?
In the process of developing the raw materials of the world, we develop ourselves, too. Thinking humans have a tremendous ability to act upon the world and upon our selves.

Rain reminds us that for all our hard work (or rather, “sweat equity”), there is always an element we cannot control…  We start to understand why rain is so key a theme in tuning in to God’s absolute power.

Session 103: Does Davening Really Help?

Painful days demand painful questions and real answers. Please listen to this class.

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When innocent children are stabbed to death in the streets of Jerusalem; when people are mowed down in a kosher supermarket in Paris; when every news outlet tries to be “fair” by denying the atrocities of history and of today… How does it help to sit down and say some Tehillim?

When you pray to God that He stop the carnage, and by the time you close your siddur, a charitable man has been cruelly butchered… How can you say that your connection to God is real?

When people are scared, abused, hurting, sick, lonely, depressed, and you want so desperately to heal them, to hold them, to fix things, but you don’t know how… How can you feel that God is listening to you and cares about you?

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How to turn your pain into a bridge to God, and how to feel the pain of others.

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Introduction to Shmone Esrei:

Getting a concept of how to relate to Hashem at the highest level of Neshama, by merging your will with His.

Session 99: Emes VeYatziv — Truth and Stability, Part I: Transitioning from the Mind Space of Shema to Shemone Esrei

“In preparation for the Shemoneh Esrei we focus our minds on the miraculous events of geulas Mitzrayim which were clearly a manifestation of the personal involvement of HaKadosh Baruch Hu Himself in our redemption: 

אני ולא מלאך. אני ולא שרף. אני ולא השליח. אני הוא ולא אחר.”

(—Rav Schwab on Prayer, pg. 379)

“…since the splitting of the Red Sea [in response to the prayers of the Jewish People] revealed that Hashem is interested in what is best for us, its invocation establishes the perfect foundation for prayer. By mentioning our redemption at the Red Sea, we recognize that our needs are, in reality, the personal concern of Hashem.  …And it is this recognition that enables us to approach Hashem and engage Him…regarding our needs.”

(—Tefilla: Creating Dialogue with Hashem, Chapter 1)